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Fourth West Nile death and 13 additional human cases bring total in Illinois to 48

Two new counties reporting West Nile virus in birds          Send a link to a friend

[September 28, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 14 additional human cases of West Nile virus, including a Gallatin County woman in her 80s who died Sept. 12. The woman is reported to have become ill in early September. This newly reported case, in addition to the 13 cases listed below, brings the total this year to 48. Additional cases are:

  • McHenry County man in his 30s became ill in mid-September.

  • McHenry County man in his 20s became ill in early September.

  • LaSalle County man in his 30s became ill in late August.

  • DuPage County man in his 40s became ill in early September.

  • DuPage County woman in her 40s became ill in mid-August.

  • DuPage County woman in her 30s became ill in early September.

  • Cook County man in his 70s became ill in mid-September.

  • Cook County woman in her 30s became ill in late August.

  • Will County man in his 60s became ill in early September.

  • Whiteside County man in his 50s became ill in early September.

  • St. Clair County women in her 30s became ill in mid-September.

  • Rock Island County man in his 50s became ill in early September.

  • Woodford County woman in her 60s became ill in early September.

"We're experiencing cooler temperatures, but West Nile virus season is not over. Take time to prepare when you go outside, to avoid mosquito bites. Wear insect repellent and avoid standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.

There have been four deaths in Illinois related to West Nile virus in 2007.

So far this year, a total of 39 counties in Illinois have reported mosquito samples, birds or humans positive for West Nile virus.

The following county health departments are reporting their first West Nile virus positive samples of this year:

  • Iroquois County -- Blue jay sample collected Sept. 13 at Cissna Park

  • Stephenson County -- Crow sample collected Sept. 17 at Cedarville

In 2006, the first positive mosquito sample was reported May 24 in DuPage County, and the first human case was reported Aug. 1 in St. Clair County. Last year 77 of the state's 102 counties were found to have a West Nile-positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 215 human cases of West Nile disease, including 10 deaths, were reported last year in Illinois.

Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began May 1 and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as the testing of sick horses and humans with symptoms like West Nile disease. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird is to be picked up for testing.

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West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.

  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including flowerpots, clogged roof gutters, old tires and any other receptacles. Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools, and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus is available at, or people can call 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health news release received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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